Moran, Michelle. 2007. Nefertiti. Three Rivers Press. 464 pages.
If you are to believe what the viziers say, then Amunhotep killed his brother for the crown of Egypt.
I loved this book. I mean I really really loved it. First, it's set in Egypt, Ancient Egypt. It had everything to love: large dysfunctional family, plenty of family drama, political and social drama too. Royal temper tantrums abound. Power. Who has it? Who wants it? Who 'deserves' it? Who's right? Who's wrong? Read for yourself to see. (Here's an excerpt of the prologue and first chapter.) Narrated by Mutnodjmet, the younger sister--half-sister--of Nefertiti we see the drama unfold practically firsthand.
Who's the heroine of Nefertiti? It's hard to say. This story is about Nefertiti--how much of a royal pain she was. But it's also about her sister--though less beautiful, perhaps wiser--Mutnodjmet. It's about the chaos of living in the midst of royals. The politics. The power struggles. The paranoia. Can family relationships stay the same--that of a father and daughter; that between sisters--when one becomes Queen?
Nefertiti had her moments. There were times I absolutely hated her, I admit. But not all the time. Her husband, the pharoah Amunhotep IV (Akhenaten), on the other hand makes for a tyrannical beast. It's hard to admire a man who values human life so little. But the real star of the book, at least to me, is Mutnodjmet. Here is a character that I cared about practically from the beginning. When she was upset, I was upset. And when she finally had her moments when her dreams were realized, I cheered.
This is a book rich in detail: the setting, the characters, the descriptions. Yet never once did the book feel like a burden. It was a book I hated to put down, and loved to rush back to. If you are interested in Ancient Egypt, or in historical fiction, or in historical romance...or if you just want a really outstanding book to savor with intricately drawn characters and a fast-paced plot...pick up Nefertiti.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews